Is a DAC to Amp hook up better??

Just to satisfy a curiosity of mine last night, I decided to hook my Esoteric D70 DAC directly into my McIntosh 501 Monoblocks using a 3 meter pair of Stealth Metacarbon IC’s this was done since the 1 meter Stealth Indra I use going from the DAC to preamp are too short.

What I experienced was going directly into the monoblocks from the DAC, the sonics, resolution and transparency all improved at least 25%, I began trying to figure out how to reposition some equipment so I could listen with a direct feed using the Indra, however it just will not work.

The question I have is, has anyone experienced this type of ordeal or heard of anyone who prefers going from DAC to amps not using a preamp. Does the preamp introduce that much noise or is there something else I need to consider?

I am baffled at how much my system improved without the preamp. Previously I felt it sounded superb with a preamp, however I had not heard the system since the RAM mods were done to the Esoteric P70/D70 using a direct feed. Just when I thought I may be almost there, I find out there is so much more to do.

Give me your thoughts/opinions please. Thanks
Yes bypassing the pre amp is better but it only works if you only use one input,the diff is in the volume control and eliminating all the extra electronics in the preamp.Many dac's today have high quality volume controls so do some cd and dvd players,you could sell your preamp if you like but I'd still keep it,Nick
How can you be sure it is not the cable change?
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It never has for me. Sounds to me like your preamp is not good enough for your system.

One of the improvement with a good preamp is dynamic. Sometimes, the output of a DAC or cdp just do not adequately drive a amp input. I once had a Cary 303/200 hooked up directly to an amp and even cranking up the volume all the way, the sound just didn't have enough energy especially with classical music.
I could not live without an excellent preamp.
It is what turns sound into music for me.
Most of those who say you must have a preamp don't understand what a preamp actually does, how the output of a source interacts with the input of the amp, how the volume control enters into the picture. etc. It is a complicated situation but eliminating an uneeded gain stage will ALWAYS be an improvement provided careful attention is paid to matching everything else. However, if you need the extra gain or your preamp-power amp impedance isn't a good match or you try to use too long a cables or cables with high capacitance or for other reasons an active pre might make your system sound better. Evidently yours sounds better without.

You frequently hear people say their system is more dynamic with an active preamp. It isn't because the pre made the signal more dynamic, it was becuase their source wasn't able to properly drive their amp through the cables and passive they used. A passive system can be just as dynamic as an active if properly implemented.

I don't really understand what you are looking for with this thread. If your system sounds better without the preamp then be happy and enjoy. If you are ineterested search the forums for passive preamps and you'll get more than you ever wanted to know.

What I am looking for are opinions on this subject. Yes you are correct about my statement, however before I up and sell my preamp, extra interconnects and powercord, I want to be absolutely sure I am doing the right thing. I realize the final decision is mine, however it wouldn't hurt to hear what others think, know, and feel.

I see, well I think you have answered your own question by discovering that a system can sound very good and possibly it's best without an active preamp. For the full story I would search the archives on passive preamps, but here in a nutshell is what you will find.

You will find 3 camps:

1. No system can reach it's full potential with an active preamp

2. No system can reach it's full potential without an active preamp

3. each system is different and some work better with an active and some with a passive.

I am firmly in no. 3 but designed my system with the minimum gain stages possible and paid close attention to impedances, and so eliminated the active preamp.
I believe you hit the nail right on the head. Thanks for the outstanding advice and feedback.
I guess I will have to eat crow and back off my initial claim of 25% improvement. I have recently discovered a bad tube in my preamp, I replaced the tube, now with the preamp restored, the system is performing marvelously.